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Implied by Prepositions: Letters from France

Is war worthwhile? Can justice compensate for all the blood and tears shed during a revolution? Helen Maria Williams addresses this question in two series of letters: “Letters written in France” and “Letters from France.” However similar in title, “Letters written in France” describes the excitement of being caught up in a revolt, while “Letters from France” compares all that is lost to that which is gained. This difference in tone is important because it shows how regret may follow impulsive actions. Furthermore, Williams expresses how the passage of time tempers passion, but does not assuage loss of human life. “Letters in France” begins with a quick paced procession through the streets of France, to an amphitheatre known as Champ de Mars. The narrator describes a parade that greatly impedes upon daily life and has a monopoly of everyone’s attention. “People ran to the doors of their houses with refreshments, which they offered to the troops.” Everyone showed their gratefulness in every way imaginable. There was praying, weeping, cheering, shouting, kneeling—the whole town is set into motion with excitement. Williams used vivid and colorful imagery to add luster to the procession. She describes flags, streamers, sashes, and various other proud decorations. “…Had I not reached Paris at the moment I did reach it, I should have missed the most sublime spectacle which, perhaps, was ever represented on the theatre of this earth.” Williams paints a scene overflowing with the enthusiasm of the French citizens. The audience can picture the chaotic scene and how everyone is caught up in the moment. There seems to be little time to rationalize all that is happening. Act now, think later-- history is being made. Lust for power, and at the very least, equality, is seemingly an indisputable element of human nature. Revenge is equally appealing to the oppressed. Williams arouses these emotions with idealist...

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Implied by Prepositions: Letters from France. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 12:16, August 29, 2014, from